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Robert Sidwell

Graduate Assistant
I am a third-year Ph.D. student in the History Department.  I specialize in nineteenth-century American history, particularly military history.  I am currently finishing up a year as assistant editor of the journal Civil War History, published by the Kent State University Press as a joint effort with the University of Akron.  I expect to begin teaching U. S. Formulative History in the spring.  

My proposed dissertation topic will expound upon my master’s thesis topic.  For my M. A. thesis, I examined General Robert E. Lee’s usage of his personal staff during the Battles of the Seven Days, Antietam, and Gettysburg, assessing whether the general used his staff as the military theories of the day dictated, to control his army and ensure that it followed his orders throughout the campaigns.  I found that Lee actually did not use his staff well according to the theories of staff usage established during the Napoleonic Wars; he left far too much latitude to often-unreliable subordinates when he should have supervised them even if indirectly through his staff officers.  This was especially true during the Seven Days’ Battles, and while Lee’s usage of his staff improved greatly during the 1862 Maryland Campaign, he relapsed into his old habits during the Gettysburg Campaign, and the resulting failure to monitor his subordinates, particularly J. E. B. Stuart, James Longstreet, and Richard Ewell, contributed to his defeat there.  My dissertation will include more campaigns, more primary sources, and connect Lee’s usage of his staff to nineteenth-century American and southern society to produce a more well-rounded account of the seven men who comprised the staff and their commanding general.

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

"Self-Contradictions and Morality: A Natural Law Critique of Deliberative Democracy" (unpublished M. A. thesis, political science, Ohio University)

"Maintaining Order in the Midst of Chaos: Robert E. Lee's Usage of His Personal Staff" (unpublished M. A. thesis, history, Kent State University)


Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society

Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society

Golden Key International Honor Society

Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society

Kent State University Alumni Association (Life Member)

Robert Sidwell
Department of History

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